Big T (aka Trevor Campbell) hosts four country music shows per week on Downtown Radio (Mon-Thurs 7pm-10pm) and has been a major figure on the country music scene in Northern Ireland since the 1970s.
Asked to name Northern Ireland's five best country music venues, he recommends...
Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival
A specialist music fest that is dedicated purely to the craft of songwriting has got to be worth celebrating hasn't it? Musicians certainly think so which is why everyone from American legends like Nanci Griffith and much-loved acts like Donovan roll into town every year to lend it their support. It hs proved a great launching pad for local talent like Gareth Dunlop. Low key but lovingly curated it's well worth checking out.
Country music venues
Recommended by Big T (aka Trevor Campbell)
The Ramble Inn, Antrim
One of the smaller venues which you'll pass on the main road from Antrim to Ballymena, The Ramble Inn has only being hosting regular country music nights for the past year but their reputation has swiftly grown. They've hosted lots of really strong local acts and are going from strength to strength.
The Ryandale, Moy
Situated between Armagh and Dungannon, this venue is well-established as one of the leading country music venues in the north. Hosting big acts like Derek Ryan and Nathan Carter, their Saturday night gigs are some of the busiest and best around.
Mourne Country Hotel, Newry
The reputation of the Mourne Country Hotel has been growing in recent years and their big Saturday night gigs are drawing crowds from both sides of the border.
Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena
I've compered events at the Tullyglass and they are well set up for big events such as the recent Hot Country Awards which played host to 30 of the most established and up-and-coming acts in the industry.
Mellon Country Inn, near Omagh
On the road from Omagh to Newtownstewart, you'll find the Mellon Country Inn. Friday is the big night for country music here and they have a jam-packed schedule of events coming up. Jayco Entertainment runs the roster of gigs here and in many of the leading venues – they really are the best in the business.
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